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How sand swimming shovel-snouted lizards stay cool in the Namib Desert

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Endemic to the Namib Desert, shovel-snouted lizards (Meroles anchietae) have learned how to survive in extreme conditions. They are fast, able to run at over 91.5 cm/3 feet per second. When they rest, they must carefully lift their feet away from the 70°C/160°F sands to keep from overheating.

When the lizard needs to completely escape the heat, its duckbill snout helps it dig deep into the cooler layers of sand, providing an underground respite for up to 24 hours. The above clip is from a desert episode of the Smithsonian Channel series Speed Kills.

To get a closer look at this fascinating lizard’s snout and fringed toes, watch this clip from Namibia’s Wild Wonders:

Next: Rock-Paper-Scissors Lizards, the Four-Toed Whiptail Lizard, and Can Namib Desert beetles help us solve our drought problems?

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